What can a Thinking Christian Woman discover by pondering peonies to root out their deeper meanings? Here’s what a budding Master Gardner-in-training had to say:
- Peonies are extremely hardy, good for passing from one generation to another (spiritual heritage)
- The way to multiply them is to divide them (growth and abundance)
- As herbaceous perennials, they require a marked cold spell to bloom (the blessings of enduring hardships)
- About the only thing that will do them in is blight, and the only cure is to cut off the affected part and burn it – as my brother says, “better get it right when it comes to blight!” (dealing with sin)
I’m a fourth generation American whose maternal great grandparents emigrated from Sweden and Wales to homestead the sand hills of Nebraska’s North Platte River region. Grandma Hannah Johnson Jones kept house in the middle of a wind-swept section of the prairie that featured buffalo wallows and the ruts left when mail delivery was by Pony Express from Fort Kearney to the post office that later became Hayden School. Grandma’s flowers, especially pansies and peonies, were bright spots against the nearly treeless, grassy tan Nebraska landscape.
Once on a trip to the old home place, Mom dug up some of Grandma’s peonies to transplant back at our home in Indiana (btw – in 1957, the year I was born, the peony became Indiana’s official state flower).
Couple years ago, I dug up two clumps of Mom’s Nebraska-Indiana transplant and brought them home to Southern California, where, unlike Indiana’s highly acidic soil, the soil is predominantly alkaline because of so little rainfall in our semi-arid climate. Naturally, I wondered if the plants would survive.
Well, after about 8 months, I sadly reported to Mom that, by all appearances, the transplants were dead in the ground. I pulled up one, and was intending to pull up the other, but never got around to it. Forgot all about it until one spring day after several months of rain when, lo and behold, there it was, alive and well hidden within a lush growth of weeds!
Ok, so Grandma Jones’ transplanted peony appeared totally dead in the ground but then sprang back to life? What does that mean to the Thinking Christian Woman?
Picture a plot in the Prairie Home Cemetery, east of Holdrege Nebraska, near the farmstead where that plant originated. Many of my pioneering relatives are buried here, including Grandma and Grandpa Jones. Standing over their grave a few years ago, I was struck by the reality that they too are, by all appearances, dead in the ground. And yet, in reality, as they proclaim so confidently on their memorial stone:
“He that hath the Son, hath life” (1 John 5:12)
Peonies and pioneers…from death to life…the reality of resurrection…this is part of the lively hope and power that is the spiritual heritage of every Thinking Christian Woman!
© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved